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01-croatia-770This reflective beach lies between two rocky headlands along the coast of Dubrovnik, a Croatian coastal city that lies at the terminal end of the Isthmus of Dubrovnik on the Dalmatian Coast. In the background is the historic section of the city known as 'Old Town.' Jutting into the Adriatic Sea are walls that run almost 2 km around the entire city. The walls are 4 to 6 m thick on the landward side, but are much thinner on the seaward side of the city. The system of turrets and towers were intended to protect the vulnerable coastal city from attack. The city of Dubrovnik has been on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites since 1979.

In the foreground lies a perched beach where mixed grain sizes make up three storm berms. Marked by coarser grain sizes (pebbles and cobbles) arranged into cusps, the seaward beach cusps are more distinct than the landward ones, which are older and more disturbed by subaerial processes and foot traffic during the tourist season. The seaward-most winter berm is being eroded into a steep scarp above the beachface. The subaerial part of this beach is much larger than the submarine component as the seafloor rapidly drops to deeper water a short distance from shore. The summer beach profile would lack this scarp allowing the beachface to slope more gently seaward as an intermediate morphodynamic beach state characterizes more quiescent conditions along the shore.

The Dalmatian Coast is well known for its karst features and relief of coast-parallel anticlines and synclines (Kelletat, 2005). Because beaches are rare along this predominantly rocky coast, Dubrovnik is a magnet for beachgoers.

(Photograph by Antonia Gardner, November 2010).

Reference: Kelletat, D., 2005. Dalmatian coasts. In: Schwartz, M.L. (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Coastal Science. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 356-357.

santa-maria-770The island of Santa Maria is one of nine volcanic islands that comprise the archipelago of the Azores, Portugal. Located in the middle of the Atlantic, approximately 1430 km from Europe and 3900 km from North America, Santa Maria was first discovered around 1427, due to its geographical position. The presence of a mild climate and fertile soil allowed the island to become colonized rapidly. Considered relatively small, Santa Maria is only 97 km2, with a rather irregular coast, abrupt cliff structures, and protected bays. However, this island is the only one presenting formations with sedimentary origin.

S. Lourenço Bay, at the north coast, interrupts a coastline of high cliffs and is part of an old crater partially eroded, which also serves as one of the most scenic landscapes of the island. Even with the presence of these steep cliffs, the human occupation is strong. In addition to houses, vineyards are present until mid-slope, taking advantage from the quality of the soils and the protection given by the cliffs, being vital to slope stabilization. Due to the lack of sediments and vulnerability, this stretch of coast is still susceptible to erosion, but is still used as a summer destination for holidays.

(Photograph taken by Adriano Quintela/Rui Coutinho and caption provided by Carlos Pereira da Silva, Department of Geography and Regional Planning, New University of Lisbon, Portugual, September, 2011).

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